Beaverton is a city in Washington County, in the U.S. state of Oregon. The city center is seven miles (11 km) west of downtown Portland in the Tualatin River Valley. As of the 2010 census, the population is 89,803. This makes it the second-largest city in the county and Oregon's sixth-largest city. Fire protection and EMS services are provided through Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue.
In 2010, Beaverton was named by Money magazine as one of the 100 "best places to live", among smaller cities, in the country. Along with Hillsboro, Beaverton is one of the economic centers for Washington County, home to numerous corporations in a variety of industries.
The area of Tualatin Valley which became Beaverton was originally the home of a Native American tribe known as the Atfalati, which settlers mispronounced as Tualatin. The Atfalati population dwindled in the latter part of the 18th century, and the prosperous tribe was no longer dominant in the area by the 19th century when settlers arrived.
The natives had a village called Chakeipi, meaning Place of the Beaver, and early settlers referred to it as "Beaverdam". Early settlers include the Hall Family from Kentucky, the Denneys who lived on their claim near present-day Scholls Ferry Road and Hall Blvd, and Orin S. Allen, from western New York. Lawrence Hall purchased in Beaverdam in 1847 and built a grist mill with his brother near present-day Walker Road. His was the first land claim in the area. He was soon followed by Thomas Denney in 1848, who came to the area and built its first sawmill. In 1860, a toll plank road from Portland to Beaverton was completed over a trail called Canyon Road.
Beginning of the town
After the American Civil War, numerous other settlers, including Joshua Welch, George Betts, Charles Angel, W. P. Watson, and John Henry, laid out what is now known as Beaverton hoping they could bring a railroad to an area once described as "mostly swamps & marshes connected by beaver dams to create what looked like a huge lake." In 1872, Beaverton's first post office opened in a general store operated by Betts, who also served as the first postmaster of the community. Betts Street, where the current post office now stands, is named in honor of him. In 1893, Beaverton, which by that time had a population of 400, was officially incorporated. Alonzo Cady, a local businessman, served as the first mayor. Many major roads in Beaverton are named for these early settlers.
Beaverton was an early home to automobile dealerships. A Ford Motor Company dealership was established there in 1915; it was purchased by Guy Carr in 1923 and over the years Carr expanded it into several locations throughout Beaverton. There are still several dealerships near the intersection of Walker and Canyon Roads.
Movies and airplanes
In the early 1920s, Beaverton was home to Premium Picture Productions, a movie studio which produced about fifteen films. The studio site was later converted into Watt's Field and associated aircraft manufacturing facilities. A second Beaverton airport, Bernard's Airport, was later developed further north at the present location of the Cedar Hills Crossing mall.
The town's first library opened in 1925. Originally on the second floor of the Cady building, it has moved repeatedly; in 2000 it was moved to its current location on Hall Boulevard and 5th Street. A branch location was opened for the first time in June, 2010, when the Murray-Scholls location opened near the Murrayhill neighborhood.
In the 1940s, Tualatin Valley Stages, a division of Portland Stages, Inc., provided limited bus transit service connecting the city with downtown Portland, operating later as a separate company, Tualatin Valley Buses, Inc., through the 1960s. This was one of four privately owned bus companies serving the Portland metropolitan area which became collectively known as the "Blue Bus" lines. All four companies were replaced in 1970 by TriMet, a then-new regional transit authority, which expanded bus service to cover more areas of Beaverton.
In the late 1970s, a light rail system was proposed to connect Beaverton to downtown Portland, as part of Metro's plans for the region's transportation. In 1990, voters approved funding for Westside MAX. Construction of the line began in 1993 and was completed in 1998. Six stations are located within the city of Beaverton: Elmonica/SW 170th Avenue, Merlo Road/SW 158th, Beaverton Creek, Millikan Way, Beaverton Central, and the Beaverton Transit Center. All but the last of these (the transit center) are located along right-of-way formerly owned by Burlington Northern Railroad and originally by the Oregon Electric Railway, which provided interurban service through Beaverton until 1933. The present-day light rail service (MAX) is operated by TriMet, which also continues to operate several bus routes serving Beaverton and the surrounding communities. Since early 2009, Beaverton has also been served by commuter rail service, TriMet's Westside Express Service (WES), running south to Wilsonville via Tigard and Tualatin.
In December 2004, the city and Washington County announced an "interim plan" which will lead to Beaverton becoming the second-largest city in Oregon, second only to Portland. The "interim" plan actually covers a period of more than ten years; from the county's perspective, the plan supports its strategy of having cities and special districts provide urban services.
Resisting the annexation
Nike led a legal and lobbying effort to resist the annexation. The lobbying effort succeeded quickly, with the Oregon Legislative Assembly enacting Senate Bill 887, which prohibits Beaverton from annexing Nike without Nike's consent. The bill also applied to property owned by Electro Scientific Industries, Columbia Sportswear, and Tektronix, and in August 2008 the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals ruled that the bill also barred the city from annexing property belonging to Leupold & Stevens. (See below, under Economy.) Nike's legal efforts to resist annexation cost Beaverton taxpayers over $360,000 .